Asus has very kindly dropped off some photos of three of its latest tablet designs, showcasing the new Eee Slates and Eee Pads. In this case, the Slate brand merely indicates that the tablet is aimed at serious business users, as opposed to casual ‘Pad’ users. There are actually four new models due, and we’re missing photos of the vanilla 7in model, but the three other tablets still offer plenty to see.
Let’s start with the Eee Slate EP121, which we first saw at CES in 2010. It’s a large 12.1in tablet, with an Intel Core i5 CPU. This is sadly an Arrandale chip, rather than a Sandy Bridge CPU, but it’s still vastly superior to the poxy Atom chips commonly found in many other tablets. The EP121 also comes with a detachable keyboard and Windows 7, which should make it suitably appealing to business IT departments.
It will come with either 2GB or 4GB of memory, and there will be the option of a 32GB or 64GB SSD, along with an SDXC slot to add more storage. Meanwhile, the 1,280 x 800 display uses IPS technology. One feature that you can't see in the pictures is the pop-out Wacom active digitiser pen, which enables you to write on the Eee Slate EP121, or use it just like a Wacom pad, instead of using your finger.
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Other features include one USB port, a mini-HDMI output, Bluetooth 3.0, a 2MP front-facing camera and 802.11n wireless LAN. Unfortunately, there won't be a dock with an extra battery, which was alluded to during Computex, but there will be a Bluetooth keyboard. This will apparently be a rebranded Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000.
Serious business means a serious price, though, so you can expect this tablet PC to carry a premium for its design, size and relatively nippy hardware. After all, a 12in capacitive display and a Core i5 CPU will cost far more than smaller screens and ARM or Atom CPUs.
Expect the EP121 to be available sometime this month.